South Philly Review: Ralph’s and Vetri conjure culinary philanthropy
South Philly Review: Ralph’s and Vetri conjure culinary philanthropy

Ralph’s Italian Restaurant celebrated its 115-year anniversary on May 15 with a little help from its friends.

After it’s founding in 1900, Ralph’s Italian Restaurant celebrated its 115-year anniversary this year. In honor of the special occasion, Ralph’s brought in celebrity chef Marc Vetri and his family of chefs to bring some new-school food concepts to the old-world restaurant. Making the night even more special, Ralph’s donated all food proceeds to the Vetri Foundation, totaling more than $15,000.

Jimmy Rubino Jr., a fourth-generation family member of Francesco and Catherine Dispigno, the founders of Ralph’s Italian Restaurant, described the evening as unforgettable.

“With about four months of planning, we pulled it off that Thursday night and it was amazing,” Rubino said. “All fans of Ralph’s, fans of Vetri, we were all united in one night — it was electric. Everyone was there for a good cause with two legendary restaurant teams. It was such an amazing night, I’ll never forget it.”

Having served legends such as Frank Sinatra, Teddy Roosevelt and Taylor Swift, Ralph’s has stood the test of time by focusing on quality.

“To me, it’s like Italian-American home cooking. People came from different parts of Italy and adapted to what they found here: it’s definitely olive oil, tomato sauce, sharp cheeses, garlic, simple fish,” culinary director and main chef at Amis on 13th Street, Brad Spence told the South Philly Review. “It’s not technically-driven food; it’s food your grandmother would cook. You don’t feel like you’re eating a professional chef’s food — you feel like you’re eating your grandmother’s food. The family just really cares about the food, and it’s crazy good.”

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